Re: Truly affordable cohousing
From: Marganne (
Date: Sun, 11 May 2008 11:15:52 -0700 (PDT)
At 7:33 PM -0400 5/10/08, Sharon Villines wrote:
I don't remember where you live but it would make sense to begin exploring the zoning laws there to see what is possible. If trailer parks are allowed, for example, I would assume container homes would
be as well. And the small home kits, it seems would be welcome anywhere.

Perhaps California won't be the first location for a low-cost cohousing development due to the high price of land. Several projects exist here and are popping up nearby, but all will be just as expensive or above the average cost of a home here. (I think it's still $500,000 in the Sacramento area.) Even reclamation of an existing structure is difficult. Any space that still can be developed is at a premium.

One cohousing project recently was stopped by protests from neighbors who objected to the potential impact on the neighborhood's quality of life. Too much density = too much traffic for existing roads -- a lot of NIMBY.

There are a lot of trailer parks here and in surrounding counties. I don't have a clue how they are zoned, except that they are built by developers rather than individuals. I suppose it would be possible to 'take over' an existing trailer park unit by unit?

My only option for ownership in California is a used mobile home where the space rental is low. I do not qualify for a loan or mortgage, so I expect to have to put out $20,000 - $50,000 cash if I choose that avenue. For people who have no savings, even that price would be enormous.

About small home kits -- Many people in different states are unable to get loans for homes smaller than 1,000 square feet, based on discussions via the Small House Society mailing list. Banks don't see any resale value. Finding a bank willing to invest in a future that looks very different is a possibility.

I'm able and willing to move to another state if it means I can live in cohousing. In California, many people deliberately move out-of-state so they can afford to buy a house.

I'm not trying to be obstructive here. I'm just sharing what information I've gathered so far. If there's a way around some of my underlying assumptions, I'll be happy to go back, change them, and work from that point.

Small House Society
Examples of small homes

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